2010 Summer

At a recent meeting of the Ludington Area Charterboat Association one member described being stopped by the transportation police while towing his wide load Charterboat across the state. He had all the right answers and escaped being fined. Others have not been so well prepared. Recent years have been tough on Michigan Captains.  Documentation and PML requirements placed a strain on many Captains.  New TWIC card & USCG licensing requirements are now in place.  The State Police Department of Transportation Division began to rigorously enforce DOT registration and transportation regulations for those who tow their own wide load boats. If you tow your Charterboat, and have a DNR sticker and even your own name, or a phone number or any other type of advertising on it, or your vehicle, you are a commercial hauler and must abide by DOT regulations. The new enforcement of these towing rules is still somewhat controversial and not completely clear.

One thing does seem clear. You will need a DOT number, and will need to meet certain DOT requirements. You can download a “Truck Drivers Guide Book” at  The DOT licensing regulations and a DOT application can be found at http:// www.michigan.gov/motorcarrier.Even now, some of these DOT issues are not fully settled as it applies to moving Charterboat. Several members have made one thing clear. Failure to be in compliance has lead to very large fines, and in some cases confiscation of the boat until all the issues for that incident were settled.

All of these issues have increased the cost and complications of being a fully qualified Charter Captain.  Hopefully we will see fewer changes in the years to come.  If you need help with any of these issues, please give me a call.

At the April 26 joint citizens advisory meeting the DNR reacted to inquiries about extending the Lake Trout season.  The DNR has proposed several possible lake trout season changes for Lake Michigan. All proposals would be lake-wide, a goal of the NRC.  All of them would lead to longer seasons for most of the lake. Especially during the main charter season. Proposal one would be January 1 through September 30. Proposal two would be January one through October 31st.  Proposal three would be April 1 through October 31st.  Proposal four would be open all year. Every proposal but number three extends the season for everyone. The DNR is planning to open a website to take comments on the proposals. Most likely one of the four will be adopted for the 2011 season.

Participation by MCBA members on DNR citizens advisory committees is an important way to successfully influence the DNR.  It would be helpful if more members of the MCBA would join these important committees.

The early planning for the Fall MCBA conference in Traverse City at the West Bay Holiday Inn is beginning. Ideas have been gathered from the membership by survey, and from the Board. We are planning an interesting and informative program. The conference will be a week earlier this year in response to our member survey. It will be held in Traverse City: Friday Evening, October 15; All Day Saturday, October 16; Sunday morning, October 17. The main conference program will be during the day on Saturday. It’s all at the Traverse City West Bay Holiday Inn: 615 East Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49686 (231) 947-3700. Plan your fall around this important conference for your charter business.

Share your knowledge and experience with Captains from all over the state.

It’s a great hotel, in an interesting city, with things to do and see for your spouse or family in the city and in the area. It’s a good time to meet with, and ask questions of the DNR top decision makers.  Book your plans now to attend the fall Conference in Traverse City the weekend of October 15th.  See you there.